Gillian Hamnett

My thesis uses stories of feigned madness to examine social tensions between individual and community in the Greco-Roman world.  Madness was feigned in the Greco-Roman world to avoid some obligation or punishment imposed by the community, or to accomplish something difficult or transgressive.  We see it used as a tactic by many groups, involving men and women, rich and poor, slaves and free.  This thesis is the first to consider the corpus of feigned madness sources as a whole, and the first to examine feigned madness using a history of mentalities approach.